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Buick adds premium Avenir trim level to Envision SUV for 2021

The Avenir trim level will be offered for the first time on the Envision.

Photo courtesy of Buick

The Buick Envision is getting the premium treatment for the 2021 model year. The automaker, who didn't change much about the two-row SUV for 2020 after giving it a significant upgrade for 2019, will add the 2021 Buck Envision Avenir as an option for buyers.

The five-seater SUV is designed to compete against premium SUVs like the Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50. It's not designed with sporty dynamics or brisk acceleration like luxury SUVs from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.

"The all-new 2021 Envision is part of Buick's strategy to grow its family of premium SUVs," said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC. "It joins the new 2020 Encore GX, which offers safety, functionality and styling tailored around the size and space preferences of today's small and compact SUV buyers."

2021 Buick Envision Avenir Typically, Avenir trim level models to not get performance upgrades. Photo courtesy of Buick

Think of Buick's Avenir grade like you do GMC's Denali models. Both brands use these designations for the most premium offerings within a product line.

Non-Avenir version of the Envision will be upgraded for 2021, getting a host of safety technologies including standard automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision assist, following distance indicator, rear park assist, safety alert seat, and a high-definition rearview camera.

Additionally, the model will be available with enhanced automatic parking assist, high-definition surround view imagery, front park assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert with blind spot alert, head-up display, and rear camera mirror.

The 2021 Envision will also offer Buick's first available 10-inch diagonal touchscreen infotainment system, and it will include in-vehicle apps, such as Amazon Alexa, Spotify, Pandora, and Fox Sports. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included.

The model will keep its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which generates 252 horsepower in the 2020 model. That engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Initial indications are that Buick will forego the 197-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is in the 2020 version.

2021 Buick Envision Avenir The Avenir trim gives the Envision its most premium design features yet.Photo courtesy of Buick

More details for the Envision, including for its Avenir trim, will be revealed later this year. the 2021 Buick Envision arrives in the U.S. in early 2021.

Pricing for the model has yet to be announced. The 2020 Envision starts at $36,995 and tops out just south of $50,000 when boxes to option it close to the offerings of 2021 model are checked. Expect the Envision Avenir to be priced north of that figure.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Enclave Avenir is the top-of-the-line trim level of the SUV for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Buick

Some people are extremely adventurous eaters. I joke that the only food I won't eat is bugs that look like bugs. I'll do Indian, Thai, Korean and Ethiopian, sweetbreads, frog legs and endless servings of sushi. French Laundry. Cut. Alinea.

Others are into tamer fare: vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, grilled cheese (with Kraft American Singles) on Wonder bread, steak with ketchup. Cracker Barrel. Dairy Queen. Olive Garden, if you're feeling fancy.

Though the fancy food folks might look down on the Red Lobster-crowd, if you're a carmaker looking to sell big SUVs in Peoria, you best remember they exist — and what sorts of stuff they're into. Culinary adventures are all about trying new and exciting things, which not everyone likes.

2020 Buick Enclave Avenir The model is elegant, especially in the high-end Avenir grade.Photo courtesy of Buick

Some people — a lot of them, actually — are thrilled with unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. And for them, GM has come up with the Buick Enclave Avenir, the Olive Garden of seven-passenger premium SUVs.

Though Buick might not carry the brand cachet of Volvo or Acura or it's up-market sibling Cadillac, the marque's SUVs (that's all it makes now, sadly) are remarkably popular. The Enclave is the three-rowed big boy, and the Avenir is the top-tier premium trim level. My test unit landed at $59,390 including the Avenir Technology Package which includes adaptive cruise control and improved automatic emergency braking. It's 2020. Both of those should be standard GM. Come on now.

It feels almost like a minivan but with the look of an SUV. Entry and exit is easy and the front and rear captain's chairs are supremely comfortable. The Technology Package adds an improved suspension which is gentle on aging backs and keeps things nicely stable. There are two sunroofs, one in the front that opens and one in the back that does not.

The 20-inch rims are sharp and, while the Enclave does not have the most exciting design in the world, it is inoffensive and soothing. It would look good in grandma's driveway on Thanksgiving Day.

2020 Buick Enclave Avenir The Enclave has a good amount of cargo space at the rear.Photo courtesy of Buick

The Buick infotainment system is excellent, with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot from AT&T and GM's unmatched OnStar service. The hotspot means that the litany of iPads and iPhones from the passengers in the back (and front) seats will always be able to connect and OnStar means if anything goes wrong, help is just a button press away — unless the air bags deploy, in which case help calls you instead. The Bose Premium audio system does its job well, with active noise cancellation and something called "Buick QuietTuning" to keep outside noise where it belongs.

The front seats are heated and ventilated, and both include a massage function which is a gift from the road trip gods. In my version, the second row seats were heated, but no cooling. The touch surfaces are all lovely and the cabin is light and airy thanks to large windows and those dual sunroofs. Visibility is excellent, and there's a 360-degree camera system to help you park in tight spaces.

The 3.6-liter V6 makes 310 horsepower but stays out of the way, as does the 9-speed automatic transmission. The Buick gearshift is mildly annoying to get used to, but after a week or two, you won't notice it anymore. There are a host of safety features, including rear cross traffic alert, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot warning with alert feature if you're going to move into another car on the interstate. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined.

There's a remote start system, which is great for both hot and cold days, a power liftgate at the back, and a split power-folding 60/40 third row if you want to haul more stuff than people. It'll even tow up to 5,000 pounds if you want to haul a camper or small boat. But an off-roader this isn't. It's an unpretentious people and stuff hauler that won't draw too much attention to itself.

Unpretentious is probably a fair description for most Buick buyers. They don't need to show off. They just value comfort and roominess and want a car that will take care of them.

That's the Buick Enclave Avenir.

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McLaren has chosen an easy-to-pronounce name for its new hybrid supercar - Artura.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

McLaren is about to mark the beginning of a new era in hybrid powertrain engineering. In the first half of 2021, its high-performance hybrid series production supercar will go on sale and we now know what it will be named.

The McLaren Artura builds on the legacy of the McLaren P1TM hybrid hypercar, which was unveiled in 2012, and the Speedtail Hyper-GT, which entered production this year and the fastest McLaren ever with a top speed of 250 mph.

"Every element of the Artura is all-new – from the platform architecture and every part of the High-Performance Hybrid powertrain, to the exterior body, interior and cutting-edge driver interface – but it draws on decades of McLaren experience in pioneering super-lightweight race and road car technologies to bring all of our expertise in electrification to the supercar class," said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

Mclaren Artura The Artura badging sits on what is likely the rear of the car.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

It will be the first car to be built on the company's new platform architecture, which has been optimized for electrification. Design and engineering of the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture took place in the U.K. at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre.

Two photos released by the company show what is likely the back of the Artura, with a honeycomb design beneath the car's badging between two exhaust outlets.

The Artura will get a twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine that combines with an electric motor. This will be the engine's debut. McLaren says that the engine retains the performance benefits of the company's larger V8s but has improved torque response at low engine speeds. The Artura can also run on all-electric power.

The weight of the hybrid engine system has been offset by the application of weight-saving technologies throughout the chassis, body, and powertrain. Ahead of a full product reveal, McLaren is touting the car's class-leading weight advantage.

The McLaren Artura is expected to be revealed soon. Pricing will likely be announced at that time.

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